Wolfmother. Tuesday, June 19, at the VooDoo Lounge.
Reviewed by Ashley Brown
In a complex designed with the glazed, somnambulatory gambling patron in mind, it’s hard to tell things apart. The eye swirls at the epileptic lighting within the gut of Harrah’s Casino. In fact, after we ran through the revolving door at the main casino entrance, my friend Derek was almost fatally drawn in by the rapturously patriotic bright lights outside of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill.
By contrast, our destination, the VooDoo Lounge is a cool blue affair adjacent to TKILTBG (as we came to affectionately call it) and, as it turns out, the place adheres rigidly to published concert start times.
Wolfmother had already taken the stage and launched into their prime radio hit “Mother” when we came in. I forget what a good song it is, a pounding-mallet-type hymn to femininity at its most elemental (“Yep, you’re a woman… you’ve got a vagina and all that junk,” per Derek).
Singer Andrew Stockdale has a cosmic yowl that makes the band all the more reminiscent of Uriah Heep. Sure, the motifs are hackneyed and tropish as a punchbowl billowing with dry ice – steaming cauldrons and repeated invocations of “The Mind’s Eye” stick out. But the Heep pulled the same contrivances, and pulled them off well. And Wolfmother pins the rock anachronisms more than musically – Stockdale regularly applauded himself and made what seemed a genuine effort to engage the crowd. The band’s also extraordinarily good at the woeful Wolfmammy ballads – celestial, string-my-tears-‘cross-the-firmament ballads that long to dream a non-extant ladylove into flesh.
After a brief encore, a door opened and the entirety of the audience found themselves within the belly of the casino and were funneled to slot machines with names alluding to a world populated by mermen and palm trees.
Actually, no, everyone was just gradually herded out, but it still felt insanely early for a rock show to end. I was home in plenty of time to get a decent night’s sleep, which I didn’t.